September 17th, 2008
07:50 AM ET
14 years ago

Fact Check: Biden on McCain's regulatory history

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. John McCain."]

The Statement:
An Obama-Biden administration would "increase regulatory oversight of the very people John (McCain) has refused to regulate," Democratic vice-presidential candidate Biden said Tuesday, September 16, on CNN's "American Morning."

Get the facts after the jump!

The Facts
Until recently, McCain consistently described himself as an opponent of most government regulation. In 1995 McCain proposed an across-the-board moratorium on all federal regulations, but that failed in Congress.

In March 2008 he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, "I'm always for less regulation. But I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight. I think we found this in the subprime lending crisis - that there are people that game the system and if not outright broke the law, they certainly engaged in unethical conduct which made this problem worse. So I do believe that there is role for oversight.

"As far as a need for additional regulations are concerned, I think that depends on the legislative agenda and what the Congress does to some degree, but I am fundamentally a deregulator."

As his campaign has developed and situation on Wall Street has worsened, McCain gradually has added increasing regulation of the financial sector to his reform themes but has provided few specifics. Speaking in Jacksonville, Florida, on Monday, September 15, McCain said that a top priority of his administration would be to "replace the outdated patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight and bring transparency and accountability to Wall Street" but he offered no details.

In his own appearance on "American Morning" Tuesday, September 16, McCain said that some regulatory agencies had been "asleep at the wheel for the last couple of years or a few years," and "those agencies have to be consolidated, and they have to be given more strength where necessary." He did not identify any agencies by name or offer any specifics.

Verdict: Biden's statement historically accurate, but McCain's position changing.

Filed under: Fact Check • Joe Biden • John McCain
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. 59 year old white guy from the South

    How can you fact check someone when figuring out his position on ANY issue is like trying to herd cats? Mitt Romney was more consistent...

    September 17, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. steven carell

    it is a pity that politicians are playing with our future by trying to say things that are politically right but not their true positions. They tell lies and distort facts. I am most surprised at Sen Mcain, despite his age and service to our country, will pursue this low road. Is he wanting to be President to serve his interest or ours. That is why there is power with the people (democracy). Tell us the facts and your true position and we will decide honorably and not be forced or decieved into voting for you.

    September 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. terry luehr

    worst economy in years, two wars, highest gas prises ever, most bank failures in 50 years, largest job lose in 17 years, give me 4 more years.

    September 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Brad

    So the moral of the story is, Obama/Biden don't lie as much as McCain/Palin.

    September 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Mike - Texas

    Over regulaion stiffles business, slows the economy, raises costs, causes the need for more lawyers, causes increased fraud.

    The key is the RIGHT amount of regulation. We should first start by regulating congress.

    September 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Michael

    ... and the difference between "regulation" and "government oversight" is what, again?

    More doublespeak spewing forth from the GOP's current mouthpiece.

    September 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. America think for you

    The reason why our economy is crashing is because of Iraq all the money that was supposed to refuel the economy are been sent to Iraq while the economy is let alone to die. The consumers have no confidence in the market that is mean they will not spend and again the economy will struggle. John McCain does not understand that simple economics formular and stated that the economy is strong. I know that McCain pocket is strong because he is a rich man. But, our economy is not strong.

    September 17, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Voter

    McCain = 26 yrs against regulation/oversight

    economy not doing well? running for president?

    McCain = FOR regulation

    Judgement = 0

    September 17, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. flipflop

    I guess the GOP can't use the Flip Flop smear tactic this time, since their candidate flip flops every 2 seconds. Heck, it seems to me like there are anumber of different John McCain's. The one that shows up depends on who he is speaking for that day.

    But at least he helped create the Blackberry (kind of amazing considering he admits not knowing how to send an email)

    September 17, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Ian

    Make no mistake, Obama and McCain will grow the Federal Government like you've never seen.

    September 17, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Voice

    Absolutely true John in Ohio – Palin/McCain have been running a copy-cat campaign. Have you noticed that Repubs don't come across as angry, whether it's in blogs or commentaries or as guests on news shows. They smile, laugh and act as if they know something Dems don't. While, Dems are shouting, waving their arms, angry, indignant. Simply put, lack composure. This is Repubs strategy-to make Dems angry and defensive. Repubs appear polished and composed while blatantly copying the Dems agenda. Slime of the earth!

    September 17, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. ikeatc

    isnt is funny that they same people we are bailing out are the same ones who do not want to pay more taxes. There is no end to their greed

    September 17, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. Scott

    Dedicated to John McCain:

    What do people with two left feet wear?


    Seriously, though. John McCain has become 2008's John Kerry. If only someone had him on film windsurfing.

    September 17, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. cb from la

    So the statement from my understanding was true right?
    Obama/Biden 2008-2016

    September 17, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Jim

    John McCain is from a bygone era with outdated ideas. We need a person of vision that will lead this nation forward with new ideas for a new era. Obama is the best thing we have for that at this time.

    September 17, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. Dee Jay in florida


    Expose the Lies please

    September 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Please ask Senitor McCain if he finished reading Greenspans book ?

    You would have thought McCain would have learned from the Keating S&L about oversite and regulation.

    All the best,

    September 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. rjl1`

    Phil Gramm, McCain's advisort was instrumental in dismantaling the oversight regulations of the banking industry that paved the way to this subprime meltdown.

    Obama sponsor legislation attempting to restore oversight two years ago.

    McCain waits for crisis to begin changing his views.

    There's more than one aspect of national security – and Obama has shown he has better judgement and foresight in every aspect including military preparedness.

    September 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. grammarian

    Biden is talking about McCain's past actions. Words about the future are cheap. Actions have consequences. Biden said that Obama/Biden would "increase regulatory oversight of the very people John has refused to regulate".

    When Biden says "has refused", he is talking about McCain's verifiable past. Biden is telling the undiluted truth.

    September 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Tammy - KCMO

    McCain = Slipperier than a fish. Constant flip flop on issues.

    September 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. John, Catholic

    Liz September 17th, 2008 9:51 am ET in the Economy Ads Post

    I really like your analogy about football and not putting in a rookie to win the superbowl when we have a veteran in the game. However I would remind you that Joe Montana (arguably the greatest quarter back in football history) was a fourth string quarter back and not the starter for the team.

    The moral of the story: The most precious things are not on the surface but buried deep in the fourth string. We already know what the veteran can do. Give the rookie a shot because he could be the greatest star the world has ever seen. That is what growth is all about and why the future is something to look forward to. The belief that tomorrow will be better than today is the reason why we get up in the morning.

    September 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. Ron

    this is rediculous!! On every issue, McCain's back and forth. How 48% (or whatever the latest poll shows) can think that he'd be good president is beyond me. He was for immigration rights, until his party smacked his hand, he was for deregulation, until this whole mess started, he says he's for cracking down on corruption in Washington, then he picks a VP that is refusing to cooperate in a congressional(state) investingation. Heck, even her AG is refusing to accept the supoenas. Talk about transparency in the government. Next thing you know, she's going to fire another staffer and claim it was all their fault. Can you say "Scooter." Oh, and one morething, he says he's for family values, then cheats on his first wife who waited for him while he decided to stay in Vietnam, then marries the adultress. He says keep families out of this (because Cindy is no perfect pretty princess, ask the DEA) then attacks Obama's wife again and again and again, not to mention using his kids in an attack ad. He says stick to the issues, but he's more concerned about spreading outright lies. PATHETIC

    September 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. Norris Hall

    The economic mess we are in is directly due to Republicans who believe that the "free market" should be our economic guide and that government should have a hands off approach to big business
    Well, when big business start to fail due to bad management and poor decisions, who is the first to abandon "free market" priniciples.
    Of course, the Republicans.
    They can't hand out taxpayer money fast enough

    McCain is one of the biggest supporters of the "free market" policy.
    We should expect more company bailouts if he's elected president.

    "free market" my foot.

    September 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  24. KM

    So the Obama-Biden answer is more regulation. That's to be expected from the Democratic party; the party believes in expanding the role of the government. I'm no fan of McCain–his campaign finance reform law is blatantly unconstitutional, in my opinion–but at least he still has some sense that the government's role is limited, and it is not a tool to solve every problem.

    Biden's promise to expand the scope of the federal government by increasing regulation is a reason to oppose him, not to support him.

    I'm voting for neither of the major candidates. I'll either vote Libertarian or cast a blank ballot.

    September 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. rick

    hahahaha Biden will smash MCCCAIN on any issues come on Americans vote for the real people. o'biden 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    September 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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